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Mike Gondek reviews: Learning Quicktime 5 Pro

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Mike Gondek reviews: Learning Quicktime 5 Pro
A Creative COW "Real World" Book Review



Mike Gondek reviews Learning Quicktime 5 Pro
Mike Gondek
Mike Gondek
Orland Park, IL USA

©2003 Mike Gondek and CreativeCOW.net. All rights reserved.

Article Focus:
CreativeCOW leader, Mike Gondek examines Learning Quicktime 5 Pro by Sean Blumenthal from www.Lynda.com.


Production Quality
The graphics quality is very good with clean readable type/menus and the compressed quicktimes play without skipping, even on a mediocre computer.

I love the simple clean design of Lynda's products. The printed card is easy to read, and the background in the player is not distracting.

The monotone audio was putting me asleep after three chapters. James Diefenderfer in his review of the Learning Mac OS X, also makes the same observation.

Navigation & Chapters
The chapters are well organized and divided, which makes it easy to find material to reference at a later date. The name of each chapter briefly appears in large clean type to let you know where you are at so you don't get lost.

Chapter names use a font that is too big on the shockwave file, and you have to scroll 5 screens. Scrolling makes it confusing to locate your last position. A smaller font would also let you see the entire contents at a glance.

I did not notice the up/down navigation arrows, until I was stuck after finishing the first chapter. The resume bookmark works, but not if you eject the CD. I would have put the arrows closer to the chapters. Though the navigation looks nice and clean, who really has time to figure out how the navigation?

Content
The first chapters cover all the basic controls thoroughly, but takes up too much time showing all they ways you can play a clip backwards. The special effects and transitions in quicktime were not covered and would have like to find out more about how they work and what another person needs to play them back.

Text tracks is covered well and there are some useful features there. The disappointing part in is that you cannot use other fonts, since you cannot embed them and there is no discussion over considerations in choosing fonts. I would have liked to have seen more information about the free tools on apples website MakeEffectSlideShow, Effects Teaser, QTVR Make Cubic, Plug-In Helper. The CD is for quicktime 5, but most of these have been around since then, and an update would be nice to see anyhow.

The localization section discusses preparing Quicktime text tracks for foreign languages, but I would have rather seen more on transitions, and additional effects. The content on compression is well done, but I would have liked to have seen more as is discussed by the likes of such wonderful human beings as Ben Waggoner.

The CD is a shockwave presentation which has links to chapters and runs 3 hours. The html is provided for you so you do not have to type it for the exercise files, and I am making myself a master html file with snippets from all of them. The CD is done on the Mac, and there is not much discussion over any pc issues.





Conclusion
Pop in the CD, click the learning QT5 icon— and you are ready to go, without pop up ads. The navigation looks clean, but could benefit from usability testing by someone that did not design the interface.

There were some new things of value that I learned such as poster movies and windows media hijacking, but most of the material is very basic. The majority of content is on how to use the controller, and you actually see most of it twice since Sean already covered that in using the plug. Sean Blumenthal does an admiral job and has picked a topic that few people dare to cover. Hope Sean will do a Quicktime 6 update, as I believe things will get even more refined, and we will see more personal tips that apply to real world situations.

I give “learning quicktime pro” 3 and a half cows.





Mike Gondek



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